(Written by my 15 year-old intern)
By: Sarah Welander
Bus systems are a wonderful way for towns like Bloomington-Normal to transport people. People who don’t have cars use them and elderly people who can’t drive use them. There is no way to lie and say buses aren’t a good thing, but why is there so much money being spent on the buses that aren’t carrying that many people?
Source: http://www.connect-transit.com/about/trustees/packet.asp See May 3, 2016 Packet
According to the Connect Transits year-to-date report, only 22 people get on the bus every hour. Now, this number has gone down a little from last year, but not an extreme amount. Then the amount of people who ride the fixed routes daily is 9,987 people. My first problem with that number is if around 22 people get on the buses every hour, how can 9,987 get on it in a day? Now I’m assuming this is because there are certain times that more people are riding the bus, like in the morning to get to work and in the evening to get back. But still, if those numbers were so much larger, the average would be higher. If you were to multiply the average of 22 people per hour by 24 you wouldn’t get anywhere near 9,987 people and the fixed routes don’t even run 24 hours. My other problem with this is that the number has gone down about 1,100 people.
Now let’s look at the revenue. In the month of March, the buses made $129,561.46. Now in that same month, they spent 765,024.10. When you compare the two numbers, there seems to be no way to make up for the amount of money they spent. Magically, there is. In March, they got $669,703 from the government. $522,077 of that came from the State of Illinois. The state of Illinois doesn’t have any money to just be handing out to these types of things. They don’t even have a budget. The remaining $147,626 came from the federal government, because they aren’t in enough debt already.
Now the bus system is trying to change their bus routes. They said that this would have a 19% riders increase. So instead of 22 riders an hour, they will have 25. This isn’t going to change much for them though. They will have to spend more on gas and pay their drivers more for the extra drivers. So they will probably continue to have the government keep them in business.